Purwokerto diocese covers an area of 13,870 square kilometers and includes 12 districts and two municipalities of Muslim-majority Central Java province.
Originally it was a mission territory called Christ The King Mission Territory served by the Jesuits. In 1927, it was entrusted to priests of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Sacred Heart.
On April 25, 1932, the territory was elevated to the status of apostolic prefecture with Monsignor Bernardo Visser, MSC, as the first apostolic prefect (1932-1941).
On Oct. 16, 1941, Purwokerto became an apostolic vicariate, and Monsignor Visser was the apostolic vicar until 1949.
He was replaced by Monsignor Guillaume Schoemaker, MSC, who was installed as apostolic vicar on Dec. 16, 1949.
On Jan. 3, 1961, with the establisment of the Church hierarchy in Indonesia, Purwokerto became a diocese and Monsignor Schoemaker became its first bishop. He was replaced by Missionaries of Sacred Heart Father Paschalis Soedita Hardjasoemarta, a Javanese, who was ordained bishop in January 1974.
During Bishop Hardjasoemarta's episcopate, Purwokerto diocese held for the first time a diocesan synod. The 1990 synod formulated the pastoral vision and mission of the diocese.
Bishop Hardjasoemarta died in 1999. He was replaced by Jesuit Father Julianus Kema Sunarka, who was appointed by the Holy See as bishop of Purwokerto on May 10, 2000, and episcopally ordained on Sept. 8, 2000.
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